Bans in place for wrestlers

SUMO

Shanghai Daily - - SPORTS -

JA­PAN’S sumo giants have been banned from play­ing golf and to strictly obey traf­fic laws as the coun­try’s an­cient sport gears up for its for­mal re­turn from a dam­ag­ing bout­fix­ing scan­dal.

Sumo of­fi­cials are turn­ing the screw af­ter be­ing given the govern­ment’s go-ahead to hold its first tour­na­ment since a st­ing oper­a­tion led to 25 wrestlers and train­ers be­ing fired.

“This is re­ally the start so I want the wrestlers to be braced for it,” Ja­pan Sumo As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Hanare­goma said yes­ter­day.

“I want them to go into bat­tle feel­ing the nerves. There will be no play­ing golf and they will be told to ad­here to the rules of traf­fic.”

Fol­low­ing a se­ri­ous traf­fic ac­ci­dent some years ago, wrestlers were banned from driv­ing and they will also have their mo­bile phones con­fis­cated for the July 10-24 Nagoya tour­na­ment.

Ac­cu­sa­tions of match-fix­ing are not un­heard of in sumo but text mes­sages dis­cov­ered on mo­bile phones tipped off the JSA and sparked the lat­est pub­lic re­la­tions disas­ter. Mass sackings, ar­rests and con­vic­tions in gam­bling, drug use, gang crime and as­sault cases have also plagued the sport.

Sumo’s priv­i­leged po­si­tion of en­joy­ing spe­cial tax breaks could still be at risk un­less the sport cleans up its act.

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